Melanated Women have always been revered to the point of blatant imitation. Wonder Womaning in hues of sun-kissed onyx, bronze, and gold, moving rooms with curvaceousness and courageousness, balancing femininity and firmness, with pheromone enriched, hair defying gravity, impenetrable strength, innate intelligence, style, and grace. Melanated Women are the canvas, the paint, and the paintbrush—the Art of Woman. 

Sheen Magazine was On The Scene at the Art of Woman Music Edition Brunch in Atlanta, Georgia, and the primary question that aspiring Women in entertainment—specifically the music facet, were asked, was: Are You Built For This? This meaning the ebb and flow, highs and lows, calm and chaos the music industry encompasses. 

Champagne adorned the walls and the Melanated Women of Art that made up the five-star panel came to gift the receptive with formidable music industry gems— aka free game, designed to either make a Woman artist want to either hold or release her position in the industry. The conversation consisted of eight powerful women holding women accountable in a plethora of areas such as: balancing and stilling emotions, money management, awareness of bad attitudes, checking unnecessary comparisons and competitiveness, recognizing your comfort levels, staying ready to seize the right opportunities, and much more.

Art Of Woman workshop and brunch was hosted by the Founder and CEO of WondaWoman Productions, Dr. Meda Montana—an overall entertainment industry veteran from New York, with a BA in Marketing and a PhD in Philosophy. Dr. Meda has worked closely with pioneers such as Steve Rifkind and Sean “Puffy” Combs. 

Aspiring and even current Woman artists were able to hear directly from wonder women such as the Vice President of Marketing at Def Jam Recordings—Dr. Charlene Thomas, Artist Management and Entrepreneur, Yandy Smith, the Legendary Artist Management and TV Producer, Debra Antney and “Buss It” Rap Artist, Erica Banks. Publishing and Music Veteran, Chelsea Gilmore, Jax Camille—Music Executive and Creative Producer and Rap Artist and Executive Producer, the iconic Queen of the Ring— BABS Bunny. 

Dr. Meda challenged the room with thought-provoking questions and situations. A few topics on the table were how women can be overly emotional in an industry in which it is very important that one control their emotions and maintain their, almost, military discipline when engaging with industry leaders and gatekeepers. Women were called on self-reflection on how they can create difficulties when working with those who look like them because of all the superfluous competition. Dr. Meda emphasizes that that overall goofy behavior “messes the paper up every time.”  

Question: Would any of the vocalists sing background for another vocalist?

A few artists said they wouldn’t. 

The panel refreshed their memories on how several of their favorite lead singers sang background at some point because they were staying ready for when it was their turn to fully take the lead. 

Situation: Knowing the difference between the energy of the man that can’t take his eyes off of you and the man that doesn’t even see you. How to control the room and get the right attention—if the right attention is what you seek. 

Debra Antney emphasized that you must teach them how to treat you. While men play a lot of these games, she held women accountable for the number of games that Women play with each other as well. Women’s intuition isn’t just a cool phrase; you know if someone wants to be bothered with you or not and you can feel what type of time that person is on. 

Question: If you were offered a record deal today, what three things would you spend with your marketing budget? 

One attendee said they would get their music mastered. That wasn’t the question though—the audience was asked about their marketing budget. Pro tip: process information to fully overstand what you are reading and hearing. Another woman said she would spend her marketing budget on social media, ads, radio, and a press tour. Dr. Meda revealed that most amateur Woman artists spend their budget on their glam and maintaining an entourage. 

VP of Def Jam Marketing clarified confusion around the different budgets and their specificities. Dr. Charlene Thomas made it clear that the recording is everything that it takes to make the record. Once the audio is done, then she would receive it because the marketing is what is bringing your vision to life, and in order for an artist to be seen— the artist must be mindful of how they are using their corporate-funded bag. Artists need publicity, media training, promotions, digital marketing and advertising, e-commerce, and brand partnerships. Dr. Thomas encourages artists to remember that they are essentially seeking to be listened to and while she may be the VP of marketing—marketing starts with the artist. 

Debra Antney added that marketing isn’t linear, and you have to cross state and country lines with a product that must be accepted by that state or country. They may not want to hear your music in India, but you could potentially go platinum in Texas by itself. 

Situation: One of the women mentioned that she was a vocalist, but she immediately followed that by saying that she wasn’t Beyoncé. 

Debra Antney checked her at the door, advising her to stop comparing what she does with what the next woman does. “Just say you’re a vocalist and that’s it,” Deb said, every one of ya’ll that sings or raps are not the same people. “If you don’t think nothing of you, why would I think something of you?”

Situation: The ladies were asked if they were writers and/or having trouble writing. A few raised their hands, to which Dr. Meda said, “So…you messed up your glam budget, you messed up your marketing budget and now you don’t have any money. Then there’s publishing—but wait, you don’t write. So basically, you’re just an artist for fun, not to make money.” 

Publishing Veteran, Chelsea Gilmore asked where the artists expect to get their residuals if they don’t write because the producer is going to get his 50%, so that leaves 50% for the writer.  Most of the time someone else is going to be in that room with you trying to get a percentage. If you need to go to someone to learn how to translate your words properly, versus paying someone to write for you, do that. Depending on how you negotiate as the primary writer, you could potentially get everything you want. You are what you negotiate. Chelsea also asked the challenging question of, if an artist would be willing to give up their favorite song they’ve written to a major artist. The answer should be yes because the objective is to use the music industry—not just be used by the music industry. 

The Art of Woman Brunch unearthed a gallery of information—you had to be there to absorb it all. Catch some of the action on Season 11 of Love and HipHop coming soon to MTV.   

Follow and potentially connect with these Wonder Women on social media at @meda.wondawoman, @iamcharlenethomas, @yandysmith, @debra4mizay, @brooklynbabs, @thechelseagilmore, @biigjax, @realericabanks